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Translator: Wu Wang
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Chapter 11: Rose Knight
Jonah felt like he had a long dream, but he couldn’t remember anything after he woke up.
He looked around. This was a round stone house, tall and broad. There were only six crude wooden beds in the room. A ray of bright sunlight shined on his face. Tiny airborne particles floated in the air. The wet floor had an unpleasant taste.
“Is anyone here?” Jonah asked. His voice resounded in the empty room, but nobody answered.
He felt a sudden pain over his left leg, and this made him shout out. His broken left leg reminded him that many things had happened after the fall of “Lame Henry II”. However, he couldn’t remember anything, just like he couldn’t remember the forgotten dreams.
“The demon!” Jonah cursed. He moved his body and found his staff in the corner of the wall, but he couldn’t find his deerskin handbag, gold coins, gems, crystals, food and water. They disappeared. Fortunately, the residual papers of the nameless book were still hidden in the pocket of his underwear. Jonah touched the rough papyrus and felt a little relieved. He let out a sigh of relief.
He didn’t have fear of rejection. Praying to the God of Stars! Compared to the eternal starry sky, the physical pain was negligible, transient and feeble. Astrologers pursued the power of souls aspiring after knowledge; but Jonah was always frightened of the demon in his body. Imagine that, a demon from the void descended in his body, and it wandered, spread fear and plague to the world, by using his identity, Jonah, a seventeen-year-old Astrologer’s apprentice. It was a complete nightmare for a devout scholar. He clenched his teeth and shivered.
“I still have a chance. The demon still isn’t strong enough.”
Jonah grasped the staff and murmured.
The demon wasn’t able to control his entire body. Because of some reason, it could only descend in the world intermittently. The things he need to do were to keep himself sane, record everything he did, and redeem every damage the demon made; in the meantime, he also needed to exercise his body and enhance his spirit, so that someday he could oppress or seal the demon in his body.
Jonah remembered the prediction:
“October 6th, Gamaliel descended from the sky with all the gentiles he chose. Ayala couldn’t see and hear him, but he lived in a bone palace and he didn’t feel panic. ‘stay away from the mirror’. Gamaliel gave his advice.”
The demon in his body wasn’t the only demon that descended in the world. There were much more people who have become puppets of other demons. What should he do?
The nameless book of Segnise. It could point a way for him, just like the star “Bear” which shined in the southern sky.
Trust the starry sky, obey the destiny, then… save the world! Thinking about this, Jonah’s eyes became serious. He stood up with the help of the staff, then walked up to the door dragging his broken leg. He took a deep breath, then pushed the mottled wooden door open.
Let the wheel of fate turn!
He didn’t hesitate and walked up to the bright sunlight.
“Good afternoon. I’m afraid that too much sleep will hurt your cervical vertebra. The knight of the realm, Lancelot, once said that every man need two things: a sharp sword and a soft pillow, and sometimes, a soft pillow is more important.” Jonah heard a gentle and songlike man voice saying to him, “We are Elliott Castlefield. Nice to meet you, the new tenant of Room 52.”
Jonah looked up. The man who talked to him was a blond knight that sat on a towering unicorn. He smiled friendly, and used his right hand touching the chest, making an archaic etiquette.
“Eh, hello. I’m Jonah, an Astrologer’s apprentice.” Jonah said and bowed to the knight. The unicorn haughtily glanced at him, then snorted.
“An Astrologer? Mr. Jonah, please forgive us for being indelicate, but you are a member of the five associations. Why do you come to such a chaotic land alone?” The knight asked with puzzlement.
“My tutor told me that tyrant Jeiezavestan have torn up the ‘Amnesty Laws’ unilaterally, so our association can’t protect us anymore. They attacked my tutor’s Astrology Town.” Jonah remembered his tutor Keshawa. They just separated not long ago, but Jonah felt as if they have been in two different worlds. Is tutor Keshawa all right? Jonah felt a little worried.
“Is this true? If so, we have to report it to our room leader immediately.” Elliott was surprised and said, “Sorry, but we have to leave for a moment.” With a neigh, the unicorn lifted its front feet and overshadowed the light of the sun. The knight rode on the unicorn, ran across the road quickly and disappeared behind several houses. Jonah took a step back. The silver armor under the knight’s cape reflected the sunlight and made him a little dizzy.
The sun hang high up in the sky. Its light made Jonah sleepy. Jonah stood in front of the door with his staff and looked around. He couldn’t see the end of the endless black grey stone houses. He could only vaguely hear the rushing water sound of the distant river.
He took a little while to analyse his situation. Here must be the Cherry Ferry, and the water sound should be coming from the Holy river, Faramita. So, he has arrived at his destination. After his fall and broken leg, the demon didn’t do anything to hurt himself, but Jonah wasn’t quite sure if the demon injured others, though he also didn’t think the demon could make any big trouble using his feeble body.
The knight called him “the new tenant of Room 52”.
Jonah looked around. The door of the house was engraved with ‘A52’ on it, and its left and right sides were ‘A51’ and ‘A53’. The back house was ‘A7’ He couldn’t see the number of the front house.
Jonah drew a sketch in his heart quickly by using his mathematical abilities as an Astrologer’s apprentice: The black houses were arranged in a circle, the number of the houses inside were fewer than the number of the houses outside. The knight, Elliott, ran towards the center of the circle. So, this meant that the inside was more important than the outside. These houses were around a decision-making hub.
‘The Geographic Environment of the Western Continent’ mentioned the definition of ‘hostel’. He knew he was a ‘tenant’, a consumer of the ‘hostel’. It must be the demon that made a lease with the owner of the hostel when his soul was dormant.
When he was lost in thinking, a gust of wind swept through – Elliott and the unicorn returned.
“Please go in the room and wait a moment. Our room leader will be right back. Here is the food and water. Please help yourself to it.” The knight bent down in a civil manner and passed a coarse package to Jonah.
Jonah took this chance and looked at the knight’s face closely. The knight’s neat golden hair was as bright as the sun. His face was impeccable and handsome. His eyes were as blue as a pair of sapphires, and there was strong vitality and fiery passion hidden in them.
Jonah suddenly froze. He saw an archaic coat of arms on the armor of the knight: a bleeding rose wrapped on a stained rapier.
“Elliott, you… are you a Rose Knight?” Jonah took over the food package and asked carefully.
“Yes, we are, Mr. Astrologer. Our career is our life.” The knight hitted his left chest with the back of his right hand. The impact of the armor made a clear and melodious sound. The unicorn nodded its head in assent.
“I’m still an apprentice.” Jonah said and felt a little shy.
Rose Knights were an eternal tale in the Eastern Continent. They didn’t obey any country and any power. No one knew where they came from, but the name of Rose Knights appeared in poems and stories again and again, and never faded away.
In the tale, a Rose Knight would appear near a pair of lovers and help them overcome all the obstacles and protect their love, till the day the boy decided to pop the question to the girl. After that, the Rose Knight would put a bunch of silver roses on the bedside of the girl in a night with bright moonlight, then left quietly. The lovers who walked in the church holding the silver roses would have an everlasting love.
However, in some other stories, Rose Knights were a kind of undead. They were cursed by the God of Text and Painting, Shira, and could only appear at night. They lived by absorbing the energy of love, and because of the curse, they couldn’t separate with their unicorns.
His tutor, Keshawa, liked to talk about some unrelated topics at the dinner. His memory about Rose Knights was mixed with the taste of thick soup and garlic toast. However, today, under the sunlight of the Cherry Ferry, he saw a living legend. How would he not feel surprised?